It's been a challenging past couple of weeks. This is the time of year when seniors find out admissions decisions, and, if they are lucky enough to be accepted, they are also receiving financial aid awards. It's not looking good for us so far. There is a silver lining -- the financial aid awards have made clear that all this time, we have been rich beyond our dreams and have been completely unaware of it. I've been reading my bank account balance incorrectly, and haven't noticed the invisible zeroes tacked on to the ends of the numbers. Those who staff financial aid offices can see those zeroes. I don't possess this ability.
I absolutely hate that my economic status plays such a powerful role in influencing my daughter's education. She's an amazing student with a terrific record, and she is so in love with learning, but money -- or lack thereof -- is going to be the biggest factor regarding what she does next with that brilliant brain of hers. So sad.
So what's a scrappy mom to do? Channel the angst creatively, of course. Luckily, my angst reached its peak at the same time that I had a project due for October Afternoon:
As a senior, my college plans suddenly and drastically changed due to my parents' divorce, and I ended up footing the bill for college (I'm still paying those loans two decades later). When I share this with my students (some of whom find themselves in a similar situation), I always tell them that it was a struggle, but that by assuming the responsibility for my education, I owned my education in a way that I might not have if someone else had assumed that responsibility for me. I pursued every opportunity, took the maximum number of credits each semester, learned as much as I could, and worked as hard as I could. I ended up graduating with highest honors, and I earned a free ride to grad school. Would that have happened otherwise? I can't be sure. I'm inclined to say no.
I have a feeling that something good will come of this. Right now, the future seems nebulous, but in time -- perhaps someday in looking back -- it will all be clear why this happened as it did and where it was leading.